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Brush your teeth twice daily 'to avoid heart disease'

Here's another reason to brush your teeth at least twice everyday — poor dental hygiene can significantly raise your risk of developing heart disease, say researchers.

A new study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that those who don't brush their teeth regularly are 70 percent more likely to develop heart disease than those who'reconscientious about cleaning their teeth morning and night.

"Our results confirmed and further strengthened the suggested association between oral hygiene and the risk of (heart) disease," Professor Richard Watt of University College London, who led the study, said.

The study looked at data on more than 11,000 adults. All the subjects were asked about their lifestyle behaviours, including how often they brushed their teeth. Nurses also took information on medical history and family history of heart disease as well as blood pressure levels and blood samples.

The subjects were then followed for an average of eight years. Of those involved, just over six out of 10 visited their dentist every six months while 71 per cent said they brushed their teeth twice a day.

During the following eight years, there were 555 examples of serious heart problems including heart attacks. Of these, 170 were fatal.

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